Graphic USA: An Alternative Guide To 25 US Cities (£19.95, Cicada Books) is a guide book with a difference. Rather than being put together by journalists and specialist researchers, the suggestions of where to go and what to see in each of the 25 cities covered in the book are provided by an image maker who lives there, who also illustrates his or her city’s chapter….
The book has been designed by Joana Niemeyer at design studio April and edited by Ziggy Hanaor at Cicada. “The concept behind [the book] is that people who work in the graphic arts, and who have an offbeat aesthetic to their work will often seek out the unexpected and inspirational elements in their environments that one wouldn’t find in most travel guides,” explains Hanaor in her introduction. “The recommendations in this book are the personal favourites of the individual contributors… For the most part they do not include the bucket list recommendations that most tourists feel they have to tick off. They tend to reflect the alternative, independent culture that is bubbling underneath the city, feeding into its public persona, but not immediately apparent to the visiting outsider. Not all the suggestions may be your cup of tea, but hopefully for those who are part of analternative scene themselves, they will tap into a common urban approach and will open up a different view of the city that you can dip in and out of as you desire. It’s kind of like a friend writing down their hot tips for each place.”
The chapter on Denver, Colorado is by illustrator and designer Gwenda Kaczor
Daniel Blackman‘s chapter on Chicago, Illinois is illustrated with a series of graphic illustrations
Alex Harrison (also known as Alex Warble) provides the illustration and the insight to Memphis, Tennessee (above and below)
Briar Levit teaches design at Portland State University and does freelance work, primarily for non profits and sustainable businesses under the name BriarMade. She provides the illustrated guide to Portland, Oregon (above and below)
And Rachel Newborn is the guide to St. Louis, Missouri (above and below)
Opening spread of Joshua Graham Guenther‘s guide to Washington, DC
Bryan Keplesky, who is the guide to Austin, Texas, has this to say in the introduction to his chapter: “Austin has a reputation as a drinking town, which I think is a bit unfair. Austin is an exceptional drinking town.” He goes on to inform readers what hotels are good, where to get a hot dog from a king, and which bar has Termintaor 2 and Star Trek: The Next Generation pinball machines.